Hubbard on the Japanese

L. Ron Hubbard demonstrates a very serious bias against the Japanese people that is similar to the racist propaganda of World War II (a caricature with thick glasses and Oriental accent). Here in a lecture, he instructs his students in the finer points of the Japanese language, which he believes is responsible for the suicidal nature of the culture.

"The Scientology religion is based exclusively upon L. Ron Hubbard's research, writings and recorded lectures —
all of which constitute the Scriptures of the religion"

There is no more madder nation than Japan. And you walk down the street in Japan and you say to some Japanese, "Blah-d-blah, blither-blither," something of the sort. And he says, "I withhold my foul breath from your face," and "Yes," and so on. And he goes on down the street. And you told him that you were on your way home and you wanted him to go on to the office. And he took it that you were on your way to the office and you wanted to go home.

It's supposed to be a terribly hard language. It's not a hard language. It's as simple as baby talk, really. It's an awfully easy language in terms of languages. Some of the Malay languages are a little bit rough.

But in katakana you have this great big character, which is a Chinese character, and then you have the little katakana stuff up at the corner of it (if I'm using the proper terms on this; it's been years since I ran into this stuff).

Anyway, they've got the character and then they say how it's pronounced in Japanese. But do you know that two Japanese can stand together and converse with each other for a little while andthen all of a sudden find out they're talking about two entirely different things, and with a great surprise find this out, and they promptly break out their pencils and pieces of paper, and they draw the Chinese character for the proper words they're using. "Oh. Oh, I understand; that's very good. Yeah, very good, yeah. I so solly. Yeah." Whee! That's a rough one.

They identify. And you will find that they're perfectly happy to do that. It makes bad communication. And they're perfectly happy to have bad communication. They don't want anything better than that. If you went in there and tried to straighten their language out and give them new words to support these, why, they'd be upset with you as all could be.

Now, you take katakana is, I think, if I remember rightly, some forty-seven characters — just sort of fishing this out of the hat. It's been ages since I ran into this. Anyway, some forty-seven characters, something like that. And when they write them all down they don't space anything — when they're just a stream of characters. There's no spaces that separate any of the words they represent. And boy, that sentence can read any way. It can read "The boy milked the cow" or it can read "Dogs are forbidden here" or it can read "The steamer will sail at nine." They don't care. Well, you just sort of infer from the surroundings what it's all about.

And that nation has the highest rate of suicide, has the highest rate of thick-lens glasses and did the most suicidal trick a few years ago. It's the doggonedest country.

-L. Ron Hubbard, lecture series The Perception of Truth (also known as Logics and Axioms Lectures), "Logics 1-7", 10 November 1952

Further discussion of Hubbard's views of the Japanese:

Subject:
Hubbard on the Japanese
From:
Anthony Roberts <afrobert@neca.com>
Newsgroups:
alt.religion.scientology
Date:
1997/12/29
Msg-ID:
<afrobert-2912971753280001 @xyp-ts1-13.dialup.neca.com [offsite]>

Upon publishing an article (as hbladm15@uconncm.uconn.edu) entitled 'Hubbard the Racist', I received a request to type up and send a copy of a lecture given by Hubbard in 1950 about his opinion of how the Japanese language affects the minds of the Japanese. I have finally gotten around to typing up what are three things, actually, on this matter. As matter of honesty I have to provide at least a little commentary on Hubbard's opinions.


'Actually, psychoanalysis is as easy to understand, certainly, as Japanese. Japanese is a baby talk - very, very hard to read, very, very easy to talk. If you can imagine a language which tells you which is the subject, which is the verb, which is the object, every time it speaks, you can imagine this baby-talk kind of a language. On[e] that doesn't have various classes or conjugations of verbs. A very faint kind of a language. Nevertheless, it merely consists, in order to communicate with a Japanese, of knowing the meaning of certain words, and if you know the meaning of those words precisely, then when a Japanese comes up to you and says, "Do you want a cup of tea?" you don't immediately get up because you thought he said "Wet paint."'

A New Slant On Life, 'The Vocabularies of Science' [from a lecture?]

Here Hubbard was referring to the fact that it is relatively easy to distinguish one part of speech from another simply by its form in Japanese, and the fact that Japanese usually (but not always) adds particles to nouns to indicate case. But these of course are _not_ singular to Japanese at all.

It is interesting to note that the two most common charges made against Japanese is that (a) it is very easy and (b) it is very difficult. Hubbard did the first above and the second in the below quotes.

The offensive and derisive tone toward the Japanese language in the above quote needs not be pointed out.

'A very bad offender is Japanese. Japanese is very homonymic. Two Japanese talking to each other on the street would probably have a very rough time of it unless they could watch each other's mannerisms and gestures. As long as they can see these things they are perfectly confident of what the other is saying. Because they leave off their articles and pronouns and are generally undifferentiative, the language can be thoroughly misinterpreted.

'When talking Japanese, you have to make yourself very clear on the subject of your mannerisms and your gestures. Worse than that, their written language is Chinese! It has been borrowed over, renamed, and then in order to explain how to pronounce it in Japanese they have little symbols up in the corner. On[e] of the reasons they have bad eyesight is probably these microscopic characters which have many lines and strokes to them.

'In order to differentiate, they have thousands and thousands of characters which they use because their own language won't differentiate. We wonder why they went mad and bombed Pearl Harbor when they knew they couldn't win. That would be a reason. Language has been unsafe in this world for an enormous amount of people who are now pushing up daisies in the various forgotten battlefields on this planet.'

'The Part Played by the Analytical Mind', Wednesday, 19 July 1950

  1. It's hard to 'leave off articles' when the language doesn't have any.

  2. Their written language is not Chinese. They use a great many Chinese characters, but the written language is still Japanese.

  3. The 'microscopic characters' next to Chinese characters (in Japanese, kanji) are called 'furigana'. The Japanese use two syllabaries, collectively known as 'kana', to indicate grammatical constructions and words for which a Chinese character is not used. Sometimes, for obscure Chinese characters, small kana are placed next to the kanji to indicate their pronunciation. However, except for books and manga for young adults and children, furigana are not next to every character, since the Japanese learn the pronunciation of most characters in use and don't need the furigana.

'This [English] is a gunshot type of language organization second only to the aberrative characteristics in the Japanese language. Japanese knocks the pronouns out, it defines so poorly and it has so many homonyms that when two Japanese meet and start discussing some subject, they very often have to take a pencil out of their pocket and make a notation on a little slip of paper and show it to the other one to get across the meaning! It has to do with the inflection in the speech. It has to do with the raise of the eyebrow or whether or not one is frowning at the moment. It has to do with all of these things, and that's part of the communication.

'An engram doesn't define in tones. Somebody can say in a ridiculous tone of voice, "Oh, that feels so bad," meaning it feels wonderful, but in the engram it says flatly, "That feels so bad." Engrams are tone deaf…

'Now, if we have in existence in our language and in our culture mechanisms which are superunselective, such as _I_, _you_, _him_, _her_, we are just asking for it. We can get a country so country tha[t] it will commit suicide. Japan tried. Japan didn't really have any idea she was going to be able to whip the United States. All of her attacks were on a we-know-we're-going-to-fail basis. There was no follow-up on Pearl Harbor, simply a "We're just going to fight to the death. We know we're going to lose anyhow." There was terrific verve in the process of committing hara-kiri, characteristic of that war…

'The Japanese are very nice people. I have a lot of respect for them. I spoke Japanese when I was a kid so I know what I'm talking about. But when it comes to aberrative language, I look at that language and I look at other languages, and I find that English is not the most aberrative by a long way, but it is a long way from the bottom of the list as far as being the least aberrative is concerned.'

'Language Adjustment', Thursday, 7 September 1950

Little needs to be added here, except to note that Hubbard's claim that engrams do not differentiate tones is in direct contrast to his earlier claim in DMSMH. Also, if engrams didn't differentiate tones, then the Chinese, whose languages are tonal languages, would all be stark staring bonkers. This is obviously not the case.

Anthony-

              

Subject:
Re: A New Slant on Life
From:
Anthony Roberts <afrobert@neca.com>
Date:
1998/03/06
Newsgroups:
alt.religion.scientology
Message-ID:
<afrobert- ya023580000603981931590001 @news.neca.com [offsite]>

In article <geoffrey.v.bronner- ya02408000R0603981707230001 @news.dartmouth.edu [offsite]>, geoffrey.v.bronner@NOSPAM.dartmouth.edu (Geoffrey V. Bronner) wrote:

In article <01bd4900$4aa29ac0$525c7018 @retrotech [offsite]>, "Michael T. Richter" <mtr@ottawa.com> wrote:

Let's not forget also that, according to Mr. Hubbard, Japanese is an easy language to learn because it' just baby talk. …

That's also from _A New Slant on Life_.

You're kidding. What page number? I gotta go look this up in the bookstore.

It's in on page 137 of the latest (1997) version, in the section called "The Vocabularies of Science":

'Actually, psychoanalysis is as easy to understand, certainly, as Japanese. Japanese is a baby talk — very, very hard to read, very, very easy to talk. If you can imagine a languagewhich tells you which is the subject, which is the verb, which is the object, every time it speaks, you can imagine this baby-talk kind of a language. One that doesn't have various classes or conjugations of verbs. A very faint kind of a language. Nevertheless, it merely consists, in order to communicate with a Japanese, of knowing the meaning of certain words, and if you know the meaning of those words precisely, then when a Japanese comes up to you and says, "Do you want a cup of tea?" you don't immediately get up because you thought he said "Wet paint."'

It doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to see this as a slap in the face to the Japanese. I posted a somewhat boring (but not too long) article about some of the things Hubbard said about the Japanese and their language a while ago in "Hubbard on the Japanese"; for example,according to Hubbard, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because their language drove them crazy. Hmm…

Anthony

[posted and mailed]

              

Subject:
Re: A New Slant on Life
From:
Anthony Roberts <afrobert@neca.com>
Date:
1998/03/07
Newsgroups:
alt.religion.scientology
Message-ID:
<afrobert- ya023580000703982326500001 @news.neca.com [offsite]>

In article <6dss72$ss2$1 @newsd-134.iap.bryant.webtv.net [offsite]>, Geistesforscher@webtv.net (John Stirling Walker) wrote:

Dear Anthony,

Brain dead is just the expression I would expect from the materialists on ARS.

Blatant generalization. I've noticed some Christians here on a.r.s. among the critics.

It's also a generalization that atheists as a 'group' are somehow morally depraved. (I am not an atheist, btw.)

I speak German fluently, read French, Spanish, Russian, Korean, and speak and read Norwegian fairly well. If you knew anything about language, and anything about babies, you'd understand LRH's point.

What point? Japanese is, according to him, a 'baby talk', a 'faint kind of a language'. What is to be misunderstood about that?

I know something about languages; I am studying cognitive linguistics. There is no empirical justification for calling Japanese a 'baby talk'. I invite you to try and do so. And it is insulting that Hubbard should equate Japanese (or any language) with any definition of that term.

The _only_ way anyone could construe Japanese as 'baby talk' is in the small number of phonemes of most dialects, which doesn't meant squat, either. Of course, Hubbard wasn't addressing Japanese phonology.

But by all means, continue to defend The Source. We can talk about Igorot (which Hubbard misnomered 'Igoroti'); I mean, he learned it in one night! Could've been a Leonard Bloomfield!

ba'by talk'. 1. the speech of children learning to talk, marked by syntactic differen[c]es from adult speech and by phonetic modifications like lisping, lalling, omission and substitution of sounds, etc. 2. a style of speech used by adults in addressing children, pets, or sweethearts, and formed in imitation of the voice and pronunciation of children learning to talk: it is generally characterized in English by the addition of diminutive endings to words, the use of special words and pet names, and the systematic distortion of certain words, as _dolly_ for _doll_, _teensy-weency_, _oo_ for _you_, _twain_ for _train_, etc. [1830-40] (RHD)

It was not intended as the insult only an intellectual would take it for.

Right. Can't have those darned learned people getting in the way. Scandalous.

Anthony

              

Subject:
Re: A New Slant on Life
From:
John Stirling Walker (Geistesforscher@webtv.net)
Date:
1998/03/07
Newsgroups:
alt.religion.scientology
Message-ID:
<6dtdlc%24fu%241 @newsd-132.iap.bryant.webtv.net [offsite]>

Ahh, a LINGUIST!

How much you pay attention to what language is really about (human communication) is evidenced in your post.

How is it a "blatant generalization" to point out that THE MATERIALISTS ON ARS are likely to use terminology like "brain-dead"? I didn't say "everyone on ars is a materialist," did I?

I never even mentioned "atheists" or "moral depravity"; out of what pocket of linguistic pseudo-understanding did you drag that reactive tidbit?

It's also self-evident you've never really listened to babies' manner of communication: it, very much indeed like the Japanese language (I know Korean, but have many close Japanese friends), is suffused with a kind of innocent simplicity, rhythmically and in terms of the emphasis given to show sincerity of emotion. I think you would do better to study music than the pseudo-science of linguistics if you want to UNDERSTAND language; I did! The particles and endings indicating verb and noun in Korean and Japanese have exactly the kind of charmingly quaint quality LRH noticed, which is quite different than the more complex morphologies in the Western languages you mention.

"Learned"? Hah!

Yours very true-ly,

J.S.W. (Jack)
Geistesforscher@webtv.net

              

Subject:
Re: A New Slant on Life
From:
afrobert@neca.com (Anthony F. Roberts)
Date:
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:33:39 -0500
Newsgroups:
alt.religion.scientology
Message-ID:
<afrobert- ya023580001003981533390001 @news.neca.com [offsite]>

John Stirling Walker (Geistesforscher@webtv.net) writes:

Japanese children show the type of innocent respect before authority which Western children would easily also demonstrate, if Western parents didn't stuff their poor little minds full of rubbish like that which I just had to waste my time reading from you, Rob.

I wonder why you keep attaching words like 'innocent' to the mind and language of the Japanese. Me, I think the Japanese and everything about them are right on par with the West when it comes to being 'experienced', both in good and bad things. Suggesting 'innocent simplicity' in their language or 'innocent respect' in their children sounds vaguely like the old missionaries and philosophers who appended such terms as 'innocent savage' and other covertly racist metaphors to the 'primitive people' they met.

But also, what does this have to do with Hubbard and/or scn? I don't see the connection. The only purpose this thread really serves is to show the world just how close-minded scienos can be.

Thank god we won't have to put up with the ad hominems anymore, however, if Walker is really leaving…

Anthony